Termite damage or not?


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Old 12-03-23, 09:56 AM
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Termite damage or not?

Recently checked attic area where we had a leak 5 years ago, to be sure it is dry. It's dry, and the flashing (which was loose 5 years ago) is holding up well.
But I found the wood damaged. (See photo.) Pest control says it's not termites and not active, but I'm skeptical.
​​​​​
Some curious/relevant facts?

1. The damage is confined to that one 2x4. It doesn't continue beyond the 15" length that was wet. Nothing further along the board or in adjacent boards. But there was sawdust in one spot. Obviously there was some mold, but I've not seen that leave a board so ... etched looking?

2. The flashing was so bad that I could see daylight thru the plywood and roofing. So there was easy ingress for bugs at the time. It's well sealed now. It would be very hot in that attic in summer.

​​​​​​3. East Coast location.
​​​​4. No wings, dead bugs, etc.


The dark part of the 2x4 is super dry now and somewhat more fragile. There was some

Sawdust... Not sure how that got there. I've brushed away most of the blown-in insulation for the photo. The pipe is the toilet vent.
sawdust in one area. No bugs, no wings, etc.
 
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Old 12-03-23, 11:08 AM
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Termites seem to like wet or wood that was wet. If the sawdust is fine that is more likely produced by a carpenter bee. Are there any round holes above that area?
 
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Old 12-03-23, 12:46 PM
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I don't see any holes, but I'll look again more closely. It's not the safest area to maneuver in, because no plywood down over the joists. I'll try laying down some boards so I can kneel

​​​​​​Yes, fine sawdust. I guess termites wouldn't want to leave a lot of sawdust behind?

​​​​​Perhaps just ("just") woodrot from when there was water, and now it's dried out.
 

Last edited by KDobz; 12-03-23 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 12-03-23, 04:52 PM
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It is just wood rot from water running down the bad roof flashing and vent pipe. The black is mold/mildew and the sawdust was probably from the hole saw that was used on the roof.
 
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Old 12-03-23, 08:41 PM
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Thank you. Very helpful.
Thoughts on whether I should cut out the damaged wood and replace?​​​​​​ The damage is not on the joist itself. It's a flat 2x4 that seems added to provide support for the PVC true vent. It's a strange little triangle there, securing a piece of plywood with the hole for the vent.

Yes, I realize I should make sure I'm not removing the top of the wall framing.

The wood is dry as a bone now, but the black from mold unnerves me after some mold damage at another house.
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Last edited by KDobz; 12-03-23 at 08:44 PM. Reason: I see your experience level!
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Old 12-03-23, 09:11 PM
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This is so minor it's hardly an issue. If it bothers you, cut it out and replace it. I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
 
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Old 12-04-23, 09:01 AM
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I don't see termite evidence in the pics. It's unusual to get subterranean termites in attic spaces with the exception of southern homes, one story, oftentimes with a chronic moisture issue and no one ever inspecting the attic. Subterranean termites are much more active the further south you go.

If the wood is staying dry, and structurally sound enough to do its job, then no reason to remove/repair it except for your own satisfaction. Another option, because of the mold stain, would be to treat that wood with Tim-Bor or a generic equivalent. The label is informative as to concentration and mixing. It is essentially boric acid, but in a more elemental form. Good for wood destroying insects and mold. I've used it preventatively on our new pole barn by sprinkling a layer of the dust on the sill plate before the walls were closed in. Any ambient moisture will dissolve some of it and the dry powder will kill/repel insects.

It comes as a powder and is mixed with water. Stirred only, not shaken. Makes a clear solution. There is another boron product, BoraCare, which is very good, but would be overkill for this and is quite expensive.

This is a generic version of Tim-Bor, same active ingredient. You would only need a fraction of a gallon to treat that small piece of wood, so mix the ratio proportionately, and you'll have left over powder. Store it in a tight container in a dry place for future use.

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...CABEgKhCvD_BwE
 
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Old 12-04-23, 06:37 PM
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Thank you XSleeper and PABugman.
 
 

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